Künz Company Headquarters 2018
Hard | Austria

Task: office building
Tender: competition  1st prize – in progress
Architecture: bernardo bader architekten
Competition partner: gbd
Team: M. Kastl, M. Ulmann, C. Bär, T. Wretschko
Floor space: 4.200  m², 16.400  m³

Vertical layering

The planning site is located at the transition between settlement area and natural landscape at the western edge of the town of Hard. Shaped architecturally by commercial and residential buildings, landscaped motes along Gerberstrasse and the palpable reference to Lake Constance in the north evoke a special atmosphere.

To break up the large spread of office, industrial and commercial buildings in the area, a small structure is placed which nevertheless cuts a striking presence. Sited on a small plot of land, the newly built company headquarters, a six-story compact structure, defines a new and clearly delineated square, while the green area of the adjacent parkland that welcomes visitors reaches far into the landscape and remains largely unspoilt.

A slightly raised, generously roofed-over entrance facilitates arrival and departure in a space sheltered from the wind and rain and connects the ground floor with the forecourt and the parkland. Adjoining the vestibule on this floor is a spacious lobby area. From here on, visitors are led into the “inner core” of the building which stretches upwards and communicates with the upper levels. This inner atrium connects to the existing building via a glass bridge on the first floor near the cafeteria.

An important factor in determining the success of the company – the flat organizational structure – finds expression in the vertical and non-hierarchical layering of uses in the planning concept. There are no rigid and fixed office spaces, but rather an almost cube-like neutral structure with short paths in the form of spiral staircases, linear stairways and a central atrium. The interior is arranged much like a gallery and appealing openings to the outer spaces extend the communal areas into the offices on the inside. The compact layering of uses and individually dividable floors allow for an optimal and flexible organization of activities and functions. A stacked building that rests within itself draws its power from an engaging dialog between differentiated concrete components, delicate steel supports and large glazing elements.